FentFacts - Basics

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, like heroin or morphine. It's used to treat severe pain, like after surgery. But fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. As a result, just a few grains of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose. Fentanyl is impacting our communities, especially young people: Since 2020, it's killed 159 people under 30 years old in Santa Clara County. Nationwide it's involved in 4 out of 5 Gen Z drug deaths.


Video: The role of fentanyl in opioid overdose deaths





FentFacts - Numbers

In the US

  • In 2021, there were 106,000 drug overdose deaths. Over 70,000 were from fentanyl.
  • Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of people under 50 than any other cause - even heart disease, cancer, homicide, and suicide.
  • In the past two years, teen overdose deaths linked to opioids like fentanyl have tripled.


In Santa Clara County

  • In the past five years, there have been 639 overdose deaths. 416 involved fentanyl.
  • In 2022 alone, there were 160 fentanyl deaths - almost 15 times more than 2018.
  • Fentanyl-related overdose was the cause of death for people as young as 12 years old.


For more stats on how fentanyl is impacting our communities:

California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard

Santa Clara County Medical-Examiner Coroner's Dashboard





FentFacts - Situation

Like other opioids, fentanyl is extremely addictive. Because of this, dealers mix fentanyl into other drugs like cocaine, ecstasy/molly, Adderall, Xanax, meth, heroin, and painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and others). It can be in powders, liquids, and pills. It's common for dealers to sell pills, especially on Snapchat and Instagram, that look real but are actually fake and laced with fentanyl. The trend has led to young people in our communities dying from accidental overdoses.

Video: How accidental fentanyl overdoses have hit our communities


FentFacts - Real vs. Fake


Video: What is a "fentapill"?





FentFacts - Save A Life

Learning more about fentanyl and how to avoid it is the first step to save a life. But there are more ways to help. Knowing how to recognize a fentanyl overdose is one of them.


FentFacts - Signs of a Fentanyl OD


If you see someone showing signs of an overdose, you could save a life with these steps:

  1. Call 911 right away.

  2. Stay with the person until help arrives.

  3. Give them naloxone, or NARCAN®, if you have it.


Video: Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Training

Under California law, any person is allowed to use naloxone or NARCAN® on someone in an emergency where they need it.




Where To Get Naloxone

Naloxone nasal spray is available at these County clinics:

  • Central Valley Clinic - 2425 Enborg Lane, San Jose   |   (408) 885-5400

  • Alexian Health Clinic - 2101 Alexian Drive, San Jose   |   (408) 272-6577

  • South County Clinic - 90 Highland Avenue, Building J, San Martin   |   (408) 852-2420

Naloxone nasal spray is also available at some local pharmacies without a prescription. Anyone can contact a pharmacy to request it. This allows friends, family, and others in the community to help save a life. You can learn how to give someone naloxone or NARCAN® by watching a video online (like this one or others).


More Ways to Help

The resources below provide other ways you can help save a life.


National Resources

CDC Facts about Fentanyl fact sheet

DEA Fentanyl Awareness webpage

Song For Charlie webpage
Organization raising awareness about fake pills containing fentanyl

Local Resources

Santa Clara County Opioid Overdose Prevention Project (SCCOOPP)

County of Santa Clara Harm Reduction Program

Substance Use Treatment Services (SUTS)

Substance Use Prevention Services (SUPS)

Crisis & Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Behavioral Health Services Call Center





Prevention & Education

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